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Blockhouse Buttress
Mountain/Rock

Blockhouse Buttress

 
Blockhouse Buttress

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Castlemartin - Range East, Wales, Europe

Lat/Lon: 51.60410°N / 4.95972°W

Object Title: Blockhouse Buttress

County: Pembrokeshire

Activities: Trad Climbing

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 131 ft / 40 m

 

Page By: Nanuls

Created/Edited: Jun 18, 2009 / Jan 9, 2012

Object ID: 522594

Hits: 2309 

Page Score: 89.01%  - 28 Votes 

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Overview


Although often overshadowed by their neighbouring headlands, the cliffs between Mewsford Point and The Castle offer a number of interesting propositions for those who climb in the mid to high grades. Blockhouse Buttress forms one such cliff and is home to a number of enjoyable multi-pitch climbs which reach some 60 metres in height. The routes are fun and steep with excellent rock on the lower pitches, which slightly declines in quality higher up the cliff. The buttress can be identified by a large landward slanting slab at its base and it is from this slab that most climbs begin. The base of the cliff, which is tidal in nature and only exposed at mid to low tide, can only be reached via abseil, making climbing here quite a serious affair.

Although Blockhouse Buttress perhaps lacks the three star quality of the area’s other crags, it’s not without its charm. The climbing here is quiet and secluded, the surroundings exude both drama and elegance, and the positions alternate seamlessly between enjoyable and exciting. Furthermore, the crag is never busy, making it an ideal objective for those sunny weekends and bank holidays when it seems that South Wales’ entire climbing community has decided to descend upon the Castlemartin Range.

Rock Climbing

The climbing at Blockhouse Buttress is affected by the tide, the degree of which can depend on the time of year and weather. The start of the routes can be reached by abseiling onto the large landward slanting slab at the base of the crag.

Climbs are listed from left to right, and are graded and rated with the aid of the Climbers Club Guide to Pembroke and the Pembroke Supplement, so for full descriptions, please refer to those books. Technical grades are generally only given to climbs graded adjectivally as Hard Severe (HS) or above.
Range East
The view east
(Photo by Nanuls)
Blockhouse Buttress
Blockhouse Buttress
(Photo by Nanuls)
The Castle
The Castle
(Photo by Nanuls)

Routes are rated using the British Adjectival Grading System. With the exception of Tenby South Beach Quarry, bolting is strictly prohibited everywhere in Pembrokeshire, so don’t even think about it here. A conversion table of international climbing grades by SP member Corax is available HERE!

Route Symbols:
NO STARS A so-so route, neither good nor bad. Not unpleasant unless otherwise stated.
1 STAR A good route which is definitely worth a climb.
2 STARS A very good route, one of the best on the crag and well worthy of attention.
3 STARS An excellent route, one of the best in the area, and probably in Britain too.
NO RESTRICTIONS No Restrictions

Used to indicate that there are currently no restrictions, either seasonal, temporary or permanent, affecting a route.
RESTRICTIONS Restrictions

Used to indicate that there are restrictions, either seasonal, temporary or permanent, affecting a route. See the Red Tape and Access Section for more details.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
1. Roland Rabbit 40m 1 E1 5b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
2. The Old Grey Whistle Test 30m 1 E3 6a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
3. Poolside Beauty 49m 2 HVS 5a, 5a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
4. Bloodline 24m 1 E3 5c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
5. Sensory Game 43m 2 VS 4c, 4c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
6. Medulla 24m 1 E4/5 6a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
7. Notion Specific 23m 1 E3 5c 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
8. Touch and Go 23m 1 E3 5c 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
9. Amnesia 27m 2 HVS 5b 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
10. Mind Games 24m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
11. Memory Lane 27m 1 S 4a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
12. Emery Wall 27m 1 S 4a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
13. Viva 40m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
14. Cavalier 40m 2 E1 4b, 5b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
15. Vectra 43m 2 E1/2 4b, 5b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
16. Launch Party 37m 2 HS 4c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
17. Long Distance Trucker 46m 2 S 4a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
18. Across the Universe 49m 2 E2 5a, 5b 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
19. Sedator 30m 1 E3 5c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
20. Starstruck 37m 2 HVS 4c, 5a 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
21. Into the '90s 24m 1 HS 4b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
22. Heavy Haulage 52m 2 HVS 5a, 4b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
23. Keep on Trucking 52m 2 HVS 4c, 4b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
24. Mother Trucker 46m 2 HVS 5a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
25. Trucker's Delight 46m 2 VS 4b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
26. Sheer Delight 46m 2 HS 4a, 4b 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
27. Unreasonable Stipulations 46m 1 VS 4c 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
28. Sensory Stimulation 46m 1 E3 5c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
29. Eye Spy 49m 2 VS 4c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
30. Jolly Silly Billy Arête 43m 1 HVS 5b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
31. Mother Carey 40m 1 VS 4b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
32. Cannonball Express 40m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
33. Bird 43m 2 VS 4a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
34. Chopping Block 43m 1 VS 4c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
35. The Splinter 49m 2 E2 4c, 5a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE

Blockhouse Buttress
Blockhouse Buttress
(Photo by Nanuls)

Weather Conditions and Tides

Weather Forecast


This section displays the weather forecast for Bosherston, which is located just to the east of Blockhouse Buttress. This gives a pretty good indication of what the weather will be like on the crag, as both Bosherston and the Blockhouse Buttress area sit at around sea level.



Tide Times


Tide times can have a significant impact on where and when one climbs. It is therefore extremely important to check the timetables before embarking on trip to the area. UK tides information for all standard and secondary ports is provided by the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO), and displayed on the BBC's website. The link below provides a link to the nearest port to Blockhouse Buttress:

Stackpole Quay Stackpole Quay (SR 992 957)

Range East
The view west
(Photo by Nanuls)
The Castle
The view east
(Photo by Nanuls)
Range East
Blockhouse Buttress
(Photo by Nanuls)

When to Climb and Essential Gear

The most reliable conditions are in the summer, but the low altitude of the crag may make it a viable option in winter. The gear needed depends entirely on the routes you plan to do. Easier routes will only require a moderate rack, while harder routes will require a something more comprehensive; a good compliment of friends or other camming devices will certainly help. A singe 50 metre rope should serve well on most easy routes, however, twin or double ropes would be a wise choice for the harder stuff. In addition to your usual gear, you might want to bring along an abseil rope to speed up access to the base of the crag.

Getting There

When approaching from Carmarthen (SN 405 196) take the A40 Truck Road signposted for Saint Clears (SN 274 160). At the Saint Clears roundabout, take the A477 Trunk Road towards Pembroke Dock (SM 969 036). Before reaching Pembroke Dock, turn left onto the A4075 (SN 019 027) to Pembroke (SM 989 012). In Pembroke, drive straight over the first small roundabout you reach and drive along the A4139 a few hundred metres and turn left and take the B4319 south towards Castlemartin (SR 915 983). Around 2.5km after Saint Petrox (SR 971 975), take a left hand turn (SR 965 964) signposting Bosherston (SR 965 9470). Drive through Bosherston (or stop for a cup of tea at Mrs Weston's Olde Worlde Café) to the Saint Govan's Car Park (SR 966 930).
The Castle (Photo by Nanuls)

From the car park, walk south to a small guard house and turn right (west), cross the stile at the guard house, and walk along a gravel road passing Stennis Ford and Huntsman's Leap and the Devil’s Barn. Follow the track and cross a fence at a cattle grid. Soon the buildings and masts near The Castle will come into view (SR 955 933), keep these to your left and carry on towards a second fence. Blockhouse Buttress is the cliff where this fence meets coastline above a large landward slanting slab (SR 951 936).

Red Tape and Access

 
Castlemartin Range Warning Sign
A warning sign (Photo by Nanuls)

Blockhouse Buttress is located in the Range East portion of the Castlemartin Range. This area is an Army firing range, although they do not use exploding ammunition. Access is permitted whenever firing is not taking place, which is normally on Weekends, Bank Holidays, and in the evenings (after 4.30). The night firing normally occurs on alternate Mon/Wed and Tues/Thurs nights. The Range is sometimes open during the week, but it is best to check before travelling. Phone the 24 hour help line on (01646) 662367.

It should be noted that Pembroke nesting restrictions are complex and vary annually. Please check the notice boards in Stack Rocks or St Govan’s car parks for more information. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority also produce an excellent annual information leaflet illustrating the restricted areas on a clear map - download it from this LINK.

It is also available from the BMC, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Mrs Weston’s Café in Bosherston.

Camping and Accommodation

There’s an almost unlimited supply of accommodation within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park so it would be inappropriate to list it all here. For budget accommodation it’s worth checking out some of the following sites:

Youth Hostel Association in Wales
Independent Hostel Guide
Campsites in Pembrokeshire

For everything else and more see Visit Pembrokeshire’s website.

Maps

Open Space Web-Map builder Code
Navigation Maps

OS 1:25k Explorer Series OL 36 South Pembrokeshire/De Sir Benfro

OS 1:50k Landranger Series 158 Tenby & Pembroke / Dinbych-y-pysgod & Penfro

Road Maps

OS Road Map 6 Wales/Cymru & West Midlands

Guidebooks

Pembrokeshire Coast: The Official National Park Guide Pembrokeshire Coast: The Official National Park Guide by Alf Alderson, John Cleare and Ian Mercer.

A handy book full of useful information and interesting facts about the National Park.
Climbers Guides to Wales: Pembroke Volume 3 Range East - Stack Rocks to Hollow Caves Bay Climbers Guides to Wales: Pembroke Volume 3 Range East - Stack Rocks to Hollow Caves Bay by Gary Gibson

A beautiful, colourful and superbly presented ‘next-generation’ guidebook to this particular part of Range East.
Climbers Guides to Wales: Pembroke Climbers Club Guides to Wales: Pembroke by John Harwood, Dave Viggers et al.

An extremely comprehensive two volume guidebook to the area which describes most of the routes on the crag.
Climbers Club Pembroke Supplement Climbers Club Pembroke Supplement by Dave Viggers

A little book containing updates to the Climbers Club Guide and costs around a fiver.
Rock Fax Guide: Pembroke Rock Fax Guide: Pembroke by Alan James and Mike Robertson

Not quite as comprehensive as the Climbers Club guides, but lavishly illustrated with tons of large photo diagrams and topos.

External Links

 
Blockhouse Buttress
Blockhouse Buttress (Photo by Nanuls)

Government Bodies and Other Organisations

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
Council for National Parks
Association of National Park Authorities
Pembrokeshire County Council
Carmarthenshire County Council
Ceredigion County Council
Countryside Council for Wales
Forestry Commission Wales
Environment Agency
CADW
Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments in Wales
Dyfed Archaeological Trust
The National Trust
Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Outdoor Organisations and Companies

British Mountaineering Council
Pembrokeshire Climbing Club
Pembrokeshire Outdoor Charter Group
South Wales Mountaineering Club
The Climbers Club
UKClimbing

Weather

Weather from the Met Office
BBC Weather
Weather Channel UK

Tide Tables

BBC Tide Tables
UK Hydrographic Office

Tourist Information

Visit Wales
Visit Pembrokeshire
South West Wales Tourism Partnership
Local Information from Pembrokeshire Pages
Local Information from Pembrokeshire Online

Travel Information

Welsh Public Transport Information
Uk Train Timetable

Accommodation

Youth Hostel Association in Wales
Independent Hostel Guide
Campsites in Pembrokeshire

Maps and Guidebooks

Ordnance Survey
Cicerone Guidebooks
Climbers Club Guidebooks
Rockfax Guidebooks
Mid Wales Climbing
Cordee Travel and Adventure Sports Bookshop

Wildlife and Conservation

Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre
South West Wales Wildlife Trust
Sea Trust
Pembrokeshire Bird Group

Welsh Language

Welsh Language Board
Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg Welsh language pressure group
Cymuned Welsh language pressure group
Yr Urdd (Welsh Youth Association)
Welsh-English / English-Welsh online translator
Welsh-English / English-Welsh Online Dictionary
Welsh-English / English-Welsh Online Lexicon

Images